Today I explored the central library. I’d only been to the smaller, local ones before so it was good to find somewhere bigger. Not having grown up very near a city, the country girl in me thought it was enormous! Although the market town near the village I grew up did have a reasonably large library, now I think about it. I think it’s because this one’s in the town Guildhall and everything is very open plan – over three floors – which gives a feeling of space. It’s also very light, with light-reflecting colours adding to the sensation.
I found myself a booth – ooh! a booth! – and examined the magazines available, taking a few notes. I had my current modules from the Writers’ Bureau with me, but didn’t end up looking at them there. I found the latest edition of the Writers’ Forum magazine and spent some time browsing through that in my zone of peace. Apart from that 10 minutes where someone was drilling the other side of the wall! Thankfully they didn’t keep at it for long.
There was a good feeling about the place and everyone seemed very cheerful – plus a coffee shop in the same place. I sat in there during what would be my normal ‘rest stop 1’ and gazed out of the window at the fountain and bronzing trees. A lady came up and said ‘would you like the newspaper dear?’ I wasn’t really bothered, but it was sweet she had asked.
I walked back down towards the bus stop, pondering the fact I’ve lived in the area 5 years but never been in the main central library before. We think of ‘exploring’ as something dramatic and farflung – ‘deepest, darkest Peru’, to use a cliche – but what do we forget to explore in our own local area? How many things have we simply discounted because we haven’t realised they were even there?
Perhaps we should make exploring a weekly, even daily habit. Finding the new, in the midst of the familiar.